Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Paul LarsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_174

Divination is the act of using contact between the supernatural world and the mundane world for the purpose of guiding human action. It is commonly thought of as an act of foretelling the future, or even dismissively termed “fortune-telling,” but this view is simplistic and ignores the social context of divination. In all situations where divination is practiced, there is a person, a “querent,” who has a need for guidance about what course of action to take with regard to a particular situation. The occasion of the divination generally comes at a specific time for a specific reason. When proffered as an amusement, as in a boardwalk fortune-teller, it may be done with little commitment to using the outcome. But the skill of the diviner lies in finding something that the querent can take away from the encounter that makes them feel value was given for the experience, and most importantly some guidance in making a decision about a course of action.

The nature of divination is a spiritual...

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  1. Tedlock, B. (2001). Divination as a way of knowing: Embodiment, visualisation, narrative, and interpretation. Folklore, 112, 189–197.Google Scholar
  2. Von Franz, M.-L. (1980). On divination and synchronicity: The psychology of meaningful chance. Toronto: Inner City Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA